(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Julie Summers picks up a mechanic, who uses the name Abdu while working illegally in South Africa. Although she initiates the relationship, he, too, may be implicated in the pickup. In Julie, Abdu sees someone who has access to what he hopes to achieve: citizenship and a position of worth in a meaningful society.

Ironically, the characters’ contrasting values, needs, and desires sometimes become clear to the reader before they are evident to Abdu and Julie. Abdu insists Julie introduce him to her family; Julie sees no reason for this, as she has separated herself from her divorced parents and their privileged lifestyles. During the visit to her father, Julie is embarrassed by the lavish house and hospitality, but Abdu respects the success of her father and his friends. A reversal happens weeks later, after Abdu has been deported and Julie travels with him to his country. Julie is surprised that Abdu insists upon their marriage before he brings her to his family home; she has no respect for a marriage certificate issued by a government deporting him. Abdu is embarrassed by his dirty, impoverished North African village, but Julie becomes entranced living with his large, extended family on the edge of a desert that she, but not Abdu, sees as spiritual.

Several times the narrator intrudes, addressing the readers directly. In the second and third paragraphs of the novel, the narrator makes clear that the novel mainly investigates Julie’s story. The novel...

(The entire section is 490 words.)